Saturday, January 12, 2013

Beaver Brook Snowshoe Race

Photo by SNAPacidotic
Saturday I woke up at 5:30 am and was out the door about an hour later in the ridiculous ice skating rink that was my driveway and local roads heading south out of the valley.  It took me a couple minutes to actually get out of my driveway and then I spun out twice within the span of 5 minutes as the roads were a solid sheet of ice.  I made my way across the top of Lake Winni and hit 93 S for a ride down to Hollis, NH for a run at Beaver Brook (results), which was the first race in the 2013 Granite State Snowshoe Series presented by acidoticRacing and Snowshoe Magazine.  This was to be only my second race since August (as I am sill nursing a bad foot). I'm also not in ideal racing shape yet, but I need these types of efforts to get there.

I was surprised at the amount of decent snow in Hollis.  On the way down 93, the snow (north of Concord and even down to near the Manchester area) was VERY thin in spots and my hopes weren't really high for the snow down in southern NH.  When I pulled into Beaver Brook it was apparent that the snow cover was well preserved on the trails and they were nicely packed and relatively fast.  I warmed up with Melissa Donais over the first mile or so of the course and then back.  I tried to stay loose and stretch out the leg and foot before the race as best I could. I was really nervous and not sure what to expect.

As the race started I had to cut across to the one packed line that had been cut up the first field section of the course.  It was one person wide and Steve Dowsett (Whirlaway) had lined up right in front of it, so I let him take it out up the first 100 yards or so before the course turns sharply onto the groomed xc ski trails.  As we took the turn onto the ski trail section, I pulled out next to Steve and went right around him.  My thought process was that I needed to just run my race early and whatever happens happens.  I needed to just try to go out like normal for the first mile or so.  If my fitness or foot fails me, so be it.  But if I just sat and didn't make any moves, I'd regret it later.

Photo by SNAPacidotic
I continued to push up onto the single track section which winds up and down and around sharp corners for the first mile or so of the course before following along the shore of Beaver Brook.  It was in this section that I started to look back and no longer could see Steve in my rearview.  Steve had won Turner Trail last weekend and was not too far back of the infamous Josh Ferenc at Prospect Mountain.  So he's been out pretty good on snowshoes this season already and I've got 12 years on him I was pretty nervous.  When I got a pretty good lead through a mile +, I started to think I could maybe hang on and win this thing.

Photo by SNAPacidotic
After following Beaver Brook for a while, the single track dumps out onto a wide xc ski trail and I really started to feel a little tired over that section but was continuing to build a lead to my surprise.  Eventually that stretch hooks right and goes up a nice hill that is probably the biggest hill on the course. It's not really too bad, but it's right in the middle of the race and is enough to really interrupt any sort of groove you have.  At the top of that climb, it cuts up into single track again for most of the last mile +.  

The single track section goes up and down and is very windy in this section with 2 more decent uphill climbs and eventually it comes back out to the field where you started from.  Mike Amarello (the RD) said they lengthened the course this year by about a tenth of a mile or so.  Looking at my time, I was a couple minutes slower than 2 years ago when we last ran this course (Beaver Brook was cancelled last year due to no snow). This is the longest BB course so far.  I'd say w/ the added section and the snow being a little worse than the thin ice cover we ran on 2 years ago (this year it was pretty wet and sloggy in spots), my time wasn't too bad considering.  I finished up and felt pretty decent foot-wise. I was more concerned during the race with my fitness and cardio, but held up fairly well.

I cooled down with Steve and Carolyn Stocker (who was 7th overall and first woman) over the last part of the course and some of the xc ski trails before calling it a day. I didn't want to do too much w/ my foot not being 100% and w/ the race out of the way.  

Top 10 Overall

122:356:57Jim Johnson       BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSN 35Madison NH     
224:427:36Steve Dowsett                          24Newburyport MA 
325:017:42Ryan Welts        ACIDOTIC RACING      32Northwood NH   
425:027:43David Cretsinger  ACIDOTIC RACING      41Wilton NH      
526:008:00Chris Dunn        ACIDOTIC RACING      44Strafford NH   
626:078:03Ryan Proulx                            33Portsmouth NH  
726:408:13Carolyn Stocker   WMAC-DION            20Westfield MA   
826:518:16Kristina Folcik   ACIDOTIC RACING      35Northwood NH   
926:528:16Jeffrey LitchfieldACIDOTIC RACING52Hopkinton NH
1027:038:20Cort Cramer35Maynard MA   

98 Total Finishers.

Photo by SNAPacidotic
Photo by SNAPacidotic


  1. Nice win. Taking it one step at a time. Do you warmup and cooldown in snowshoes?

    Your daughter is adorable!

  2. Good job JJ! We haven't much snowshoe action on The Level yet, can I post this?

  3. Good job DoubleJ! We haven't had much snowshoe action on the Level yet, mind if we repost this on the site?

  4. Thanks Mac. Typically I do the warmup and/or cooldown on snowshoes if I can... a lot of times I find myself just running on the roads depending on the course... Either or...

    @EricLevel - sure that's cool. Not really an exciting report, but feel free :)...There should be a few more to come this season....

  5. Good race Jim you looked smooth out there. Looking forward to more snowshoe racing!

  6. Thanks Steve! Good seeing you out there....I'll see you at the next one!